DAYS OF AWE

STORIES FOR ROSH HASHANAH AND YOM KIPPUR

Three well-crafted retellings focus on the pillars of the Jewish High Holidays: charity, prayer, and repentance. A samovar left with Rivka by the prophet Elijah begins to shine as she performs her ordinary acts of charity; she and her husband realize that their good fortune is a blessing that allows them to help others. A shepherd's simple but heartfelt prayers are silenced by a scholar who deplores their informality, but God sends an angel to show the shepherd that his prayers resound in Heaven. A famed rabbi unthinkingly offends a beggar who then refuses to forgive him; the rabbi's gentle daughter convinces the beggar that forgiveness will lift his burden of bitterness. Weaving these universal tales about approaches to God with just a few, well-chosen words, Kimmel deftly uses wise but humble characters to convey his message and sets them in various locales: a shtetl, C¢rdoba in Moorish Spain, the Holy Land. The characters' simple lives are effectively depicted in Weihs's folk-inspired art, though there are some discrepancies between the details and text. A fine addition to the body of Jewish folklore. Introduction on the significance of the High Holidays; notes to the stories. (Folklore. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-82772-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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A useful if occasionally preachy introduction, this book would benefit from the inclusion of more specific details,...

FAITH

FIVE RELIGIONS AND WHAT THEY SHARE

To encourage tolerance, the photographer/authors want to help children understand similarities among Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

The authors assume readers will be people of faith, not atheists or agnostics. After short descriptions of each religion, common themes, such as the Golden Rule, spiritual leaders, sacred texts, clothing, symbols, places of worship, worship acts (use of incense, candles, water, and prayer), charity and cherishing children are explored. The text can be very specific, mentioning branches of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist) without explaining the differences. (Sunni and Shiite Muslims are not delineated.) Activities will help children, teachers and parents think about religion in a comparative manner, although no sources or further reading are provided, which is a glaring omission. The attractive photos are often cropped into circular or curvilinear shapes and presented on brightly colored pages, giving the book the look of a magazine. Identified by religion but not by country, the photos were taken in the United States and eight other nations, including Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam. Interestingly, Israel and India, seemingly obvious choices, are not included. Captions would have been helpful for some photos such as a picture of a Muslim boy in a distinctive white cape and jeweled hat, which remains unexplained in the text.

A useful if occasionally preachy introduction, this book would benefit from the inclusion of more specific details, including holidays and eating customs. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55453-750-1

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Good supplementary material to increase the holiday’s meaning and currency for older children.

PASSOVER

FESTIVAL OF FREEDOM

From the Orca Origins series

An overview of the holiday of Passover is elaborated with personal narratives, the story’s connection to the Holocaust, and various Seder customs practiced in several countries around the world.

A Canadian author and child of Holocaust survivors, Polak introduces the topic through her own personal account of a secular Jewish upbringing in Montreal. She focuses on how her research on and interest in the Holocaust brought her full circle to hosting her first Seder. The first chapter is devoted to the traditional Haggada, the book used to recount the ancient story, which includes the various rituals performed at the ceremonial meal. She introduces Ben, a Lithuanian survivor, and his version of his family’s Passover observance before World War II. From here Polak clearly connects the biblical story of oppression, escape, and freedom to the Holocaust while segueing into modern-day observance and traditions. Two concluding chapters outline the Jewish community’s charitable commitment to providing food baskets and support for the needy as well as the diversity of multicultural traditions for the holiday as celebrated in not only Israel, but in some Asian, European, and African countries. A plethora of photographs, informational sidebars, drawings, and recipes break up the substantial yet enlightening text.

Good supplementary material to increase the holiday’s meaning and currency for older children. (glossary, index, references) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0990-1

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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